Gabriel Meyer, Executive Director
Southern California Ecumenical Council
1749 West 125th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90047-5223
Phone: (323) 920-4072 or (310) 640-0710
Email: scec1@scec1.org •  Web Site: www.scec1.org

BIO

Our new executive director, Gabriel Meyer, comes to us with a lifelong involvement in the quest for Christian unity. Raised in the Disciples tradition, he discovered the writings of the early Church Fathers in his teens and became a Greek Catholic. In the 1970s, he became a leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal and was a key participant in the historic 1977 Kansas City Conference, which brought together charismatics from the historic churches with Pentecostals, African-American Pentecostal churches, and nondeminational fellowships. Gabriel also helped found an ecumenical Christian lay community, originally based at Loyola Marymount University, City of the Lord, which, now headquartered in Phoenix, recently celebrated its fortieth anniversary.

In the early 1980s, Gabriel launched a residential community project in Jerusalem, in part to express solidarity with the city’s indigenous Christians and to support the medical and social-work mission of a unique Christian-led pediatric hospital in the city’s Muslim Quarter. While in Jerusalem, he also pursued biblical and rabbinical studies at the Ratisbonne Institute on the city’s west side.

In 1987, he became the fulltime Jerusalem correspondent for the LA-based National Catholic Register, with a special focus on the plight of the region’s Christians, and served as Middle East “stringer” for a number of European newsweeklies. He won Catholic Press Association awards for his coverage of the first Palestinian intifada (uprising) and traveled frequently to Turkey and Egypt to report on Christian-Muslim relations there.

At the end of the 1980s, Gabriel was reassigned to Yugoslavia, and, writing from Bosnia-Herzegovina, chronicled the region’s descent into civil war. His reporter’s diary dispatches from Sarajevo in 1995, as the Bosnian war drew to a close, were nominated for several journalism awards.

Three years later, at the urging of Sudanese Bishop Macram Max Gassis, he found himself in the war-ravaged Nuba Mountains of central Sudan, where the Khartoum government was carrying out large-scale extermination campaigns against mixed Christian, Muslim, and traditionalist tribes. Gabriel’s involvement with the fabled Nuba people occupied most of the next decade, as he pivoted from journalism to advocacy. Out of his experiences in East Africa, he wrote and narrated a full-length documentary “The Hidden Gift,” which premiered at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He wrote an account of the “Nuba years” in 2005, “War and Faith in Sudan,” which went on to win the ForeWord magazine’s Book of the Year award for essays.

Returning to the US full time in the early years of the new century, Gabriel reconnected with his Greek Catholic parish in El Segundo, which serves as a natural point of contact between Christian East and West, and between Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. He returned to Jerusalem in 2006 in order to do research for a large-scale “biography” of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. A draft of the book, “A Testimony of Stones,” was completed in 2013. He has also published poetry and fiction.

During these years, Gabriel also took on the task of helping a venerable Los Angeles cultural institution, the 126-year-old Ruskin Art Club, to renew and reconfigure itself for a new century. The experience gained in that difficult and exciting undertaking informs his approach to the particular challenges the Southern California Ecumenical Council now faces.

He’s happy to have an opportunity, through the SCEC, to re-engage with the religious landscape of his hometown, the place in which he first discovered the “enrichment of diversity” and the many forms of Christian witness – all of which, from the Disciples and mainline Protestant churches to the charismatics, from Pentecostals to the Christian East – still form and shape his own outlook and his hopes.



 

 

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